Fri, Dec 29, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Plastic bag and bead bans to take effect on Monday

OVERLAPPING RULES:While businesses could be fined a maximum of NT$6,000 for handing out plastic bags, using plastic pellets in cosmetics could incur a NT$300,000 fine

Staff writer, with CNA

Expanded measures restricting plastic bag use in Taiwan will take effect on Monday as the government attempts to reduce waste and promote environmental conservation, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said on Wednesday.

The current ban on providing customers with free plastic shopping bags will be extended from seven types of retailers to 14, now also covering pharmacies, medical equipment retailers, electronics stores, bookstores and stationery shops, laundromats, beverage shops and bakeries.

The new rules are an extension of a 2002 partial ban covering government facilities, schools, department stores and shopping centers, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, hypermarkets and supermarkets.

According to the EPA, the 2002 restrictions apply to about 20,000 stores across Taiwan and the new rules would extend their reach to an additional 80,000 stores nationwide, with plastic bag handouts projected to fall by 1.5 billion annually.

However, while plastic shopping bags and biodegradable bags will be prohibited, not all plastic bags will be banned under the new rules, the EPA said, adding that plastic bags without handles, typically used as fruit and vegetable bags, may still be provided to bag unpackaged produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and loose confectionery.

Plastic bags used for medical purposes and dust bags are also excluded.

Businesses that fail to comply with the regulations are to receive a warning for the first offense and fines of NT$1,200 to NT$6,000 for subsequent violations.

In addition to the ban on handouts, Taipei and New Taipei City are also prohibiting the sale of plastic shopping bags at hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores starting on Monday.

However, the three types of stores will be allowed to sell “dual-purpose” bags that function both as shopping bags and official waste disposal bags.

The EPA is from Monday also prohibiting imports and production of six types of cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads — tiny plastic pellets barely detectable by the naked eye.

The ban covers their use in products including shampoo, facial cleaning products, facial scrubs, body wash, soap and toothpaste.

Those found to have produced or imported goods containing microbeads are to be fined NT$60,000 to NT$300,000.

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